I’m not a supporter nor a critic of Chief Schettino, knowing little of his termination. My concern is with the professional services of departing Interim City Manager, David Harden.
I understand that Interim (read Temporary) City Manager Harden was hired basically to:
- Stabilize our community and its administration.
- Improve the morale of city employees.
- Help search for a permanent city manager.
Mr. Harden’s professional expertise qualified him unconditionally. Let’s examine the results:
- Within weeks of taking his temporary office, Mr. Harden initiated the termination of Chief Schettino, causing significant community dissention.
- City employee morale plummeted wondering who might be next.
- The search for a city manager was burdened by adding the search for a new chief.
Obviously, in failing to reach the three goals and in inciting community and administration conflict, Harden’s professional performance was unbelievably poor.
Regarding the termination of Chief Schettino, Harden certainly enjoyed the legal loophole authority to terminate any city employee. In my opinion, however, as an incoming temporary manager, Harden lacked the moral and ethical principle to so quickly fire anyone. Given Marco’s deplorable history regarding city managers, a conscientious City Council would consider amending city procedures to provide a job description of an acting or an interim city manager (yes, there’s a difference). Such job description could prohibit any temporary city manager from firing anyone during the first six months or so. That provision would impede the appearance of hiring a Valentine’s Day-type hatchet man, would it not?
Goodbye, Mr. Harden. Please don’t offer your “help” to other already troubled communities.